Friday, November 28, 2014

Despite Forests at Risk, Village at Wolf Creek full steam ahead

{with update}
Considering the strategic timing of the release of Red McComb's RGNF land swap decision - 

VWC Access Project "Final Environmental Impact Statement" - a few days before Thanksgiving Day, with the end of the comment period right after the New Year's holiday it's pretty clear that the fix is in and the development is quite probably on a fast track.  My bet is that the construction won't resemble their website's pretty projections one bit, we shall see.

Thus I'll transition this blog from a feeble attempt to be an information kiosk advocating for the preservation of Alberta Park - with it's precious biologically productive watershed and hydrology kept unmolested for the greater good of the Rio Grande River Basin and all it's stakeholders - to that of being a witness to the coming plunder. 

To begin I'll share some of the sober science that our Republican pals hold in such contempt that they do all to pretend doesn't exist.

Here's a scientific assessment of the backdrop against which this ridiculous development and future boondoggle will occur:

Rocky Mountain Forests at Risk
Confronting Climate-driven Impacts from Insects, Wildfires, Heat, and Drought

Lead authors
Jason Funk, Stephen Saunders
Todd Sanford, Tom Easley, Adam Markham

September 2014 

  1. iv  Figures, Tables, and Boxes
  2. v  Acknowledgments 
1   Executive Summary 

Chapter 1
5   A Cherished Landscape at Risk 
Chapter 2
9   Increases in Tree-Killing Insects  
Chapter 3
13 Increases in Wildfires  
Chapter 4
19 Impacts of Heat and Dryness on Forests  
Chapter 5
24 Effects on Iconic Tree Species of the Rocky Mountains  
Chapter 6
38 Present and Future Climate Change in the Rocky Mountains  
Chapter 7
44 What We Can Do 

47 References 

From the Executive Summary:
"… Today, however, the forests of the Rocky Mountains are facing a triple assault: tree-killing insects, wildfires, and heat and drought. If allowed to continue unchecked, these stresses and their impacts could fundamentally alter these forests as we know them.
Human-caused global warming is driving these detrimental effects by bringing hotter and drier conditions, which not only cause their own effects but amplify those of other stresses.  
An exceptionally hot and dry stretch from 1999 to 2003 produced unusually severe impacts on the region’s forests. If these trends continue, even hotter and drier con- ditions could become commonplace, leading to even greater effects on Rocky Mountain forests. 
This report documents the latest evidence on how climate change is already disrupting the forests of the Rocky Mountain region and what scientists project for the decades ahead, and suggests how we can best meet these challenges. …" 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I have received the following email from the Public Affairs Specialist for the Rio Grande National Forest:

I read your latest blog and just wanted to let you know that you are incorrect about the reason for the timing of the release of the draft ROD and FEIS coinciding with the holiday season.  

I know it looks suspicious, especially to those who don’t like the draft decision, but we wanted to get it out as soon as everything was completed and it just happened to work out to be on November 20. My guess is that there is no way for me to convince suspicious folks otherwise, but I figured I would let you know the truth. The legal notice wasn’t actually published until November 21.
Your calculations of the objection period ending on January 4, 2015 are correct, except that since the 4th is a Sunday, the objection period actually doesn’t end until Monday, January 5, 2015 I attached the Federal Register Notice that announced the notice of availability of the FEIS. The objection period begins with the publication of the legal notice in the paper of record, not the FRN {as I noted in my post: Valley Courier }.
 Public Affairs Specialist  Rio Grande National Forest
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 I trust you and want to remain in good standing with you and will add your comment to my post - but it will also include my response:

You are correct - 
it's a tough one to swallow and it's not going down.
But it's OK, it's not like anyone that matters gives a damned.

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